I am writing this from somewhere up in the air, en route from LAX to JFK. When I’m flying without my small children, plane trips are a great chance to get stuff done. I can set a goal to write an op-ed during a flight and chances are I will finish it with no interruptions. (When I have small kids with me, this is a different story… don’t get me started on my horrible flight from Newark to Grand Rapids this summer. The only reason I survived is that a nice lady across from me took my baby for a while, after my newly potty-trained 3-year-old didn’t do well with a long tarmac delay. Nor did his seat).
Of course, one of the things that makes air travel so productive is that no one can reach you. No phone calls, no internet… until recently. Over the past few years, many airlines have started offering onboard wi-fi. Like the airline I am currently flying. I paid my sum and logged on, and here I am.
So here’s the question: is inflight wi-fi a good thing or a bad thing? On one hand, I’m able to blog and answer some pressing emails. On the other, it’s harder to spend 5 hours focused on writing an essay when the vast and distracting internet is calling. I can check headlines! Stocks! Comments on my favorite blogs! To be sure, I didn’t have to purchase internet access. But as it becomes widely available, people will no longer accept “I was traveling” as a reason you didn’t get back to them. I’m not sure this is a good thing.